A Crow’s Funeral

Six months ago, I posted this.

And now I feel a fool. Again.

Justine was totally right about crows. I wish I hadn’t been so hard on them so many years ago.

Crows are extremely smart. They learn at least 250 different calls, and communicate in different dialects according to family, social group or in general. They are as smart as primates in many ways. They are omnivores and that makes their brains bigger and more complex. They mate for life. At one point during the PBS Nature documentary I was watching, I was reminded of Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

But crows have hard lives. They rarely make it past adolescence: often getting picked off by hawks, or hit by cars.

It also seems crows feel emotional pain. There is a legend about crows having funerals, and it turns out this phenomenon has some scientific evidence. Crows generally are part of a social group. When one dies, the whole social group will often gather nearby and wait for a few minutes, before flying away.

This greatly moved me.

Tomorrow morning I intend on having a conversation with my local crows, because there are many of them still around my home. I will tell them that I’m sorry that they have gone through so much pain (especially because more than likely, there will be crows who have lost a baby around me) and let them know I understand, and I respect and value their journey. And I wish them well.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “A Crow’s Funeral

  1. Wordgirl

    The crow often is a significant fixture in American Indian narrative/creation stories… Easy to see why now! Xoxo

  2. Dipitie

    What a sweet post – I too have a newfound respect for crows. Thank you!

  3. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    I have heard something similar about Canadian Geese and how they fly in formation (using the wind from their wings to help each other fly, or something like that) and when one gets hurt some peel off from the group to help them/stay with them until they feel better or pass away. Back when I was a camp counselor and then a retreat team leader there was one of those inspirational sheets that would get passed out called “Lessons from Geese.” It always moved and inspired me to read it.

  4. crows are known to have long memory. they apparently can recognize and remember specific people, in particular if one in a group has been harmed. they are also fiercely protective of each other and their turf. a flock of them live in the area and often perch on our back fence, and they shoo away the doves and bluebirds that fly into the garden. J talks to the ones out back.

  5. I hope talking to the crows gives you peace.

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